Before Oct.5,2017, many of us did not have an idea of who Harvey Weinstein was and would have probably left this world without ever knowing him. However, the world has become a global village and now we not only know who he is, but the despicable things he his alleged to have put some women through as they looked to have a career in acting or modeling as well. To the world of entertainment, Weinstein is actually a big fish, a mega movie producer who also happens to co-own the Weinstein movie producing company.
If you are wondering why I used the word despicable in relation to his name ,you should know that a New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor and Megan Two revealed that he is accused of making unwanted sexual advances to women dating back to 1990. Some of the big names he is alleged to have harassed sexually include Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie and our very own Lupiter Ngongo. In most of those instances, he would ask for sexual favors in exchange for help towards the advancement of their careers.
After almost two decades of a conspiracy of silence by about 40 women who had been sexually harassed, the producer, who has ironically championed many women causes, has been called out and even lost his job at his company. Police are still conducting investigations and no one has pressed charges on the producer.
As I was reading this story I could feel a bitter smile forming on my mouth as Weinstein is just one of the big names that come to the fore and make us acknowledge that there is a deep and rotten problem in our societies. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize he is not the only one. There are more of him out there and they could be your first mentor when you are still a wide-eyed intern or your boss, at work. Your husband at home who will not leave your young house help alone or sadly your father or moneyed uncle could also be sex pests.
In 2015, female legislators in Kenya complained of rampant cases of sexual harassment within Parliament, even as they petitioned National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to establish a gender unit to handle the criminal cases. Now isn’t that a real shame that the very place where laws are made is the same place that some men were breaking them with reckless abandon?
There was one case that stood out where Taita Taveta Woman Representative Joyce Lay accused Turbo MP Elisha Busienei of sexually harassing her while they were on an official duty in Japan. The church is not spared either as men of cloth have also been accused of attempting to rape, raping or advancing unwanted sexual demands on their female members.
Before coming out, you will realize that most women choose to keep quiet and act as though it it not happen. Some accept the advances from the men but it hardly ever ends well for them. In both cases, the woman may not want it but will either keep quiet or accept just keep her job. Those who think of reporting are often faced with a David and Goliath type of battle on their hands because the men involved have money, power and connections and you can simply not touch them. This, therefore, means that the case will be over before it even started.
Some women have, however ,come forward and reported such as in the case of of former Imenti Central Member of Parliament Gideon Mwiti. Mwiti was accused of rape by a young female business associate. Two things happen when a woman reports such cases; the people involved may actually be prosecuted as in the case of Mwiti where the judge declined to drop his case last month. In other instances, the lady may report but the case will never leave the walls of the police station. She will be ridiculed by some police officers who could be on the payroll of the big boss man.
If it is in a company or an organization, she might be the one to go home as she is the new kid on the block while the man is trusted and of ‘impeccable’ manners. And the women! You would think we would be more understanding towards one of our own but nooo we would be there asking funny questions akin to a Spanish inquisition. ‘What were you wearing?’or How did you look at him?’ and so on.
Some men say that she does not even look like a virgin and you will wonder if it is written on your face! All in all, sex pests abound and they are powerful, moneyed and most men and women are left helpless when they fall victims. But this does nob mean that you should not at least try to speak out because you could be saving someone’s else’s life and/or reputation.
If a man asks you to give in to sexual advances in return for a job, tell him no thanks because as soon as he is done with you he will look for another one and guess what?You will not have a job as well. So it is better to lose a job but still have you dignity intact. When one door closes another one opens.